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Amazon’s Whole Foods Price Cuts Were Too Good to Be True

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Two months post-merger, prices are creeping back up

Whole Foods Reports 27 Percent Increase In Q2 Earnings Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images
Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

Nearly two months post-Amazon takeover, it appears that price cuts at Whole Foods weren’t quite as impressive as originally thought.

In the wake of the late-August merger, Amazon slashed prices by as much as 40 percent on some on key Whole Foods products like organic bananas and avocados in an attempt to shed its “Whole Paycheck” image. The effort seemed to work: Traffic at Whole Foods stores surged by roughly 25 percent following the price cuts, suggesting that Amazon might actually be able to achieve the domination in the retail grocery sector that analysts forecasted.

However, more recent reviews of Whole Foods prices suggest that the discounts were more of an Amazon stunt than a lasting change, Business Insider reports. A survey of prices for 110 items over a five-week period at a Whole Foods in New Jersey found that price drops averaged only 1.2 percent, according to the Washington Post. In fact, the report found that prices of some of the steeply discounted items, like frozen foods, were creeping back up.

A report by Quartz similarly found that Amazon’s takeover of Whole Foods has done little to alter the cost of organic produce industry-wide. The average price for organic avocados in the U.S., for instance, has gone up since the Amazon buyout, and other produce has stayed relatively on par price wise with the same period last year.

Suffice to say Amazon’s outsized reputation as a disruptor of markets, whether it be books or otherwise, isn’t yet translating in a meaningful way into the grocery market.

Whole Foods' Price Cuts May Have Just Been an Amazon Gimmick [BI]
Amazon Promised to Make Whole Foods Cheaper. Let’s See How That’s Going. [WaPo]
Amazon’s Whole Foods Deal Isn’t Disrupting Grocery Prices [Quartz]
Amazon Wastes No Time in Slashing Whole Foods’ Prices [E]
Whole Foods’ Business Is Booming Post–Amazon Deal [E]
Amazon Is Buying Whole Foods [E]